To be here in Mitilini is to see the power of people working towards a common goal – helping their fellow humans gain a foothold in a new land. There are over a thousand people here helping in any way they can, from pulling people out of the ocean, to offering blankets, to teaching them English and Greek and other subjects; finding them nourishing food, giving their time and money to make a difference. In the absence of aid from governments and large agencies, individuals are filling the void. It is amazing. The other day I heard of a yoga class for volunteers. They ask for a donation of 5 euros in order to pay for refugee bus tickets to take yoga. This is how people think here. What can we do to help the newcomers, and not to make profit for ourselves.
Some of the ngos operating here are:
Better Days Greece
This is the group that we REAL volunteers work with most. It comprises three projects:
GEKKO School, providing classes in Math, English, Greek, and Computers as well as other workshops for the teenage unaccompanied minors.
Athletics for boys and girls
Environment and Ecology: this project is actively looking for an environmental science – ecology teacher volunteer.
One Happy Family – OHF
This amazing place provides a way for people from the camps to get away for the day. It provides food and drinks, a large blacktop for sports, a work out area, a playground, a toddler room, a library, a women’s room, a large garden, and a school for the kids run by School for Peace, which is a collaboration of Israelis and Palestinians. It is built from love and shipping pallets. We started a knitting workshop there today, providing yarn and needles and lessons which we brought here in our luggage, and about eight women joined us to practice knitting. Lois, another REAL volunteer who arrived yesterday, will visit every day for the three weeks she’s here. My sister Sally and I will also help.
As we were leaving One Happy Family, they were serving everyone a hot meal. There must have been 250 men lined up patiently to receive a plate of rice and chicken. Women and children got theirs first. I love this place.
More about other ngos next time.
8 Replies to “A model community”
Thanks for sharing this!
Anne, is Sally still there?
We are experiencing blackouts due to high fire danger. Scary over here in Marin. Fires burning now, near Healdsburg and near Slide Ranch. Be well. Xxoo
Amazing. Thank you so much for doing this work and sharing your experience with us.
Wishing I could drop in and join your work. Would it be helpful if I was able to collect and send over yarn for your knitters?
I have extra yarn I can send and would also be willing to collect more to send. Is it needed? If not, what else would be good to send? Continue to be so proud of you and your sis.
Anne, so happy for you that you and Sally are on Lesvos sharing your love and many talents with refugees and fellow volunteers.
Awesome too that you’re teaching them knitting. What kind of items are you knitting? Does the camp need more yarn? I have so much extra yarn in storage in Seattle. If possible, please let us blog followers know where we could send yarn. Lots of love, Bon
Anne, I also have oodles of yarn I can send — mostly acrylic worsted — in different colors. I have extra knitting needles (mostly straight ones) and other knitting supplies, including crochet needles, knitting gauges, measuring tapes, large-eye yarn sewing needles, etc. Please let us know what you could use and an address we can mail packages to.
Oh Anne, this is Marla’s friend Susie. I feel as tho I’m there with you. Much love & admiration for all you do. You are an inspiration.